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Hi all,I am going to get a vhf radio for my boat probably a hand held one which I can then take with me on my kayak aswell,just wondering on the licence as have been told I need to do a course and pass a test to get licence, and have been told also that I don't need a licence on my own boat,so can anyone clarify which it is please,thanks
 

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As above register online, free and fairly easy, you then get an mmsi number for your boat.
The course is nothing to fear, all common sense and educational.
 

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You say you might get a handheld, remember it will have much less range than a fixed set.
Whilst the above is true, when I capsized it happened so quickly that if id had a fixed and no hand held, i wouldnt have been able to make a Mayday call from the water.
Just remember to keep it on you or somewhere easy to grab in an emergency.
 

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Whilst the above is true, when I capsized it happened so quickly that if id had a fixed and no hand held, i wouldnt have been able to make a Mayday call from the water.
Just remember to keep it on you or somewhere easy to grab in an emergency.
I’ve got fixed and a waterproof handheld for that reason.
 

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I've had a licence for 35 years and use my radio on every trip, we also regularly get safety equipment checks from maritime and water police both on the water and at the boat ramps. In all those years I've never been asked or ever heard of anyone being asked to prove they have a licence. Also working as marine rescue volunteer we've never asked anyone to prove they have a licence, infact it seems rediculus a handful of us go to the trouble of gaining the legal requirements when you never need to prove it.

We communicate on every trip with marine rescue groups as well as use the radios in emergencies. In any emergency you can legally use a vhf in any part of the world without having a licence. The training procedure, radio protocol is all online, basically if someone wants to just carry a radio only as an emergency tool, the only thing they need to do is know a mayday call and push the red button.
 

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This comes up on WSF time and again...

Very true that you don't need an operator's licence to make a Mayday call, and even making any call to the CG, I've never heard them ask if the caller has a licence even when it's been patently clear that they are clueless, the advantage of doing the course is that it builds confidence, you use the radio more often, you get used to using it and you don't p*** off everyone around you.

You really don't want a Mayday call to be your first ever call - a VHF feels odd to use at first anyway - for anyone reading this do the course, as the OP intends to, and get used to using the VHF regularly and correctly.

And I would agree that a fixed AND hand-held (attached to your person) is by far and away the best option - the fixed will give you better range but the hand-held will be the only thing of any use if your boat battery(s) is flat, you're in the water or the boat has sunk/capsized. If it had to be one only, I would go for the hand held first and then aim to get a fixed.
 

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Other than ‘getting round to it’ why wouldn’t you do it? Any form of training has got to be good.
Agree, whether it's the radio course, boat handling course, navigation course, having the RNLI visit your boat to advise on safety gear etc etc - once you start learning from experts you soon realise it's much easier and much more successful than trying to learn by yourself - a friend getting back into motorcycling took a course, even though he didn't need it licence wise, and said, "I've learnt a lot more from someone else's experience than I would ever learn from my own mistakes."
 

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Other than ‘getting round to it’ why wouldn’t you do it? Any form of training has got to be good.
A boat licence course could easely be covered in one day here, which is quite intensive, where the radio operators course runs over 6 weeks of around 3 hrs per evening. The book alone destroyed best part of a rain Forrest;) and the licence itself is virtually made identical to an international passport.

The things I learnt have long gone from my memory, however the basics ( which are also covered in boat licensing ) such as emergency calls, pan pans, radio relay, radio silence times and the channels you are permitted to use can simply be learnt in almost no time at all.

It's pretty easy, use your phone to talk to your mates, use the radio to talk with rescue groups, maritime, rnli etc. We have a second option of radio here like we did in the UK ( not sure if you still do)? This runs on 27mghz, where no licence is needed at all, you use it exactly the same as vhf and both are carried by rescue groups, water police etc. The big difference is one can run at 25 watts power and the other 5wats, which is basicly line of sight for both. Neither reach land radio bases when we head offshore beyond the continental shelf.

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